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A02765
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
162
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY BENNINGHOFF, WATSON, BAKER, BLOOM, V. BROWN,
BROWNLEE, CAUSER, COHEN, D. COSTA, DAVIS, DIAMOND, EVERETT,
FLYNN, GABLER, GILLEN, GINGRICH, GODSHALL, HARKINS, HEFFLEY,
IRVIN, JAMES, KINSEY, KNOWLES, KORTZ, LAWRENCE, MAJOR,
MALONEY, METCALFE, MILLARD, MURT, O'NEILL, PICKETT, ROZZI,
SONNEY, WARNER, ZIMMERMAN, FARRY, BRIGGS, MENTZER, THOMAS,
JOZWIAK, MARSICO, SANTORA AND DeLISSIO, FEBRUARY 17, 2015
AS REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND YOUTH, HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, AS AMENDED, JUNE 25, 2015
AN ACT
Amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in adoption, further providing for
definitions and for original birth record.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The definition of "summary of original birth
record" in section 2911 of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended and the section is amended by
adding a definition to read:
§ 2911. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Noncertified copy of original birth record." A summary of
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original birth record, similar in form to a certified copy of an
original birth record and consisting of only the names and ages
of the birth parents, the date and county of the birth of the
child and the name given to the child at birth.
* * *
["Summary of original birth record." The summary of original
birth record, consisting of only the names and ages of the birth
parents, the date and county of the birth of the child and the
name of the child given at birth.]
Section 2. Section 2937 of Title 23 is amended to read:
§ 2937. Original birth record.
[(a) General rule.--No disclosure of information shall be
made by a court, an agency, the Department of Health or any
other Commonwealth agency regarding an adoptee's original birth
record or regarding the documents or proof on which an amended
certificate of birth is based or relating in any way to the
birth parents unless the disclosure is made pursuant to the
provisions of this section.
(b) Filing of consent to issue copy of summary of original
birth record.--
(1) The birth parents may, at the time their parental
rights are terminated or at any time thereafter, place on
file with the court and the Department of Health a consent
form granting permission for the court or the Department of
Health to issue a copy of the summary of the adoptee's
original birth record, which summary discloses the identity
of the birth parents, at any time after the adoptee turns 18
years of age or, if less than 18 years of age, to the
adoptive parent or legal guardian.
(2) If only one birth parent has filed a consent, a copy
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of the summary of the original birth record naming only the
consenting birth parent shall be issued.
(3) The consent of a birth parent may be withdrawn at
any time by filing a withdrawal of consent form with the
court and the Department of Health.
(c) Duty of Department of Health.--The Department of Health
shall prescribe by regulation the procedure and forms to be
utilized for the giving, updating and withdrawal of consent.]
(a) General rule.--Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, an adoptee who is 19 years of age or older AT LEAST 18
YEARS OF AGE AND WHO HAS GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL, COMPLETED A
GENERAL EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM OR HAS LEGALLY WITHDRAWN
FROM SECONDARY SCHOOLING or, if the adoptee is deceased, the
adoptee's descendants, may apply to the Department of Health for
the adoptee's noncertified copy of original birth record.
Subject to subsection (b) SUBSECTIONS (B) AND (C) , the
Department of Health shall issue a noncertified copy of original
birth record within 45 days of receipt of an application, if the
application complies with the requirements of subsection (c) (D)
(f) .
(b) Contact preference.--The Department of Health shall
develop and, upon request, make available to each birth parent
named on the original birth certificate a contact preference
form on which the birth parent may state a preference regarding
contact by an adoptee who is the birth child of the birth
parent. Upon such request, the Department of Health shall also
provide the birth parent with an updated medical history form,
which shall be completed and returned, together with the
completed contact preference form, by the birth parent to the
Department of Health. The contact preference form shall provide
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the birth parent with options, in substantially the following
form, from which the birth parent shall select one:
(1) I would like to be contacted. I have completed the
contact preference form and an updated medical history form
and am filing them with the Department of Health.
(2) I would prefer to be contacted only through an
intermediary. I have completed the contact preference form
and an updated medical history form and am filing them with
the Department of Health.
(3) Do not contact me. I may change this preference by
filling out another contact preference form. I have completed
the contact preference form and an updated medical history
form and am filing them with the Department of Health.
(C) REDACTION REQUEST FORM.--A BIRTH PARENT MAY REQUEST THAT
THE BIRTH PARENT'S NAME BE REDACTED FROM A NONCERTIFIED COPY OF
ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD ISSUED TO AN ADOPTEE IN ACCORDANCE WITH
THE FOLLOWING:
(1) THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL PRESCRIBE A BIRTH
PARENT'S NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM. THE FORM SHALL INCLUDE
ALL OF THE FOLLOWING:
(I) INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROCEDURES AND
REQUIREMENTS FOR A BIRTH PARENT TO DO EITHER OF THE
FOLLOWING:
(A) HAVE THE FORM PLACED IN THE ADOPTION FILE OF
THE ADOPTEE WHO IS THE BIRTH CHILD OF THE BIRTH
PARENT SO THAT THE BIRTH PARENT'S NAME IS REDACTED
FROM THE NONCERTIFIED COPY OF ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD
ISSUED TO THE ADOPTEE.
(B) HAVE THE FORM REMOVED FROM THE ADOPTION FILE
OF THE ADOPTEE IF THE BIRTH PARENT LATER DECIDES TO
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PERMIT THE BIRTH PARENT'S NAME TO BE INCLUDED ON THE
NONCERTIFIED COPY OF ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD.
(II) PROVISIONS NECESSARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH TO BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE
ADOPTEE TO WHOM THE FORM PERTAINS.
(III) A PLACE FOR THE BIRTH PARENT TO ATTEST THAT
THE BIRTH PARENT IS THE BIRTH PARENT OF THE ADOPTEE TO
WHOM THE FORM PERTAINS.
(2) THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL MAKE A BIRTH PARENT'S
NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST FOR SIX
MONTHS FOLLOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION. THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL ACCEPT A NAME REDACTION REQUEST
FORM IF ALL OF THE FOLLOWING APPLY:
(I) THE FORM IS SUBMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH NOT LATER THAN SIX MONTHS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE
OF THIS SUBSECTION.
(II) THE FORM HAS BEEN NOTARIZED.
(III) THE BIRTH PARENT PROVIDES TWO ITEMS OF
IDENTIFICATION OF THE BIRTH PARENT.
(IV) IF A MEDICAL HISTORY FOR THE BIRTH PARENT WAS
NOT PREVIOUSLY PREPARED, OR THE MEDICAL HISTORY WAS
PREPARED BUT NEEDS TO BE UPDATED, THE BIRTH PARENT DOES
THE FOLLOWING, AS APPROPRIATE:
(A) COMPLETES A MEDICAL HISTORY FORM.
(B) UPDATES THE BIRTH PARENT'S MEDICAL HISTORY
INFORMATION.
(V) THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IS SATISFIED THAT THE
FORM HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED.
(3) THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL FILE AN ACCEPTED NAME
REDACTION REQUEST FORM IN THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE ADOPTEE TO
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WHOM THE FORM PERTAINS.
(4) A BIRTH PARENT MAY REQUEST AT ANY TIME THAT THE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REMOVE THE NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM
FROM THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE ADOPTEE TO WHOM THE FORM
PERTAINS. THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL REMOVE THE FORM IF
THE BIRTH PARENT PROVIDES THE DEPARTMENT ALL OF THE
FOLLOWING:
(I) TWO ITEMS OF IDENTIFICATION OF THE BIRTH PARENT.
(II) INFORMATION THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEEDS TO
BE ABLE TO IDENTIFY THE ADOPTION FILE OF THE ADOPTEE TO
WHOM THE FORM PERTAINS.
(III) A NOTARIZED ATTESTATION THAT THE BIRTH PARENT
IS THE BIRTH PARENT OF THE ADOPTEE TO WHOM THE FORM
PERTAINS.
(5) A NAME REDACTION REQUEST FORM REMOVED FROM AN
ADOPTION FILE SHALL BE DESTROYED.
(6) THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SHALL INCLUDE ON ITS
INTERNET WEBSITE INFORMATION ABOUT BIRTH PARENT'S NAME
REDACTION REQUEST FORMS. ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION
SHALL BE PROVIDED:
(I) THE PURPOSE OF THE FORM.
(II) THE PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED AND REQUIREMENTS
TO BE MET FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO ACCEPT THE
FORM.
(III) THE DATE WHEN BIRTH PARENTS MAY BEGIN TO FILE
THE FORM WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.
(IV) THE DATE WHEN THE FORM MAY NO LONGER BE FILED
WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.
(V) THE PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED AND REQUIREMENTS
TO BE MET FOR HAVING THE FORM REMOVED FROM AN ADOPTION
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FILE.
(VI) ANY OTHER INFORMATION THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
CONSIDERS NECESSARY.
(7) (I) EVERY FIVE YEARS AN ADOPTEE WHO WAS ISSUED A
NONCERTIFIED COPY OF ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD WITH A BIRTH
PARENT'S NAME REDACTED MAY REQUEST THAT THE DEPARTMENT
CONTACT THE BIRTH PARENT TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE BIRTH
PARENT WILL:
(A) PERMIT THE BIRTH PARENT'S NAME TO BE
INCLUDED ON THE NONCERTIFIED COPY OF ORIGINAL BIRTH
RECORD; AND
(B) PROVIDE AN UPDATED MEDICAL HISTORY FORM.
(II) IF THE BIRTH PARENT IS DECEASED, A NONCERTIFIED
COPY OF ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD SHALL BE PROVIDED TO THE
ADOPTEE WITHOUT REDACTION OF THE DECEASED BIRTH PARENT'S
NAME.
(c) (D) Application.--An application under this section
SUBSECTION (A) shall be in a form acceptable to the Department
of Health and shall include the following information:
(1) The adoptee's current name and name assumed at the
time of adoption.
(2) The adoptee's address.
(3) The adoptee's age and date of birth.
(4) The adoptee's gender at birth.
(5) Proof of identification.
(6) The adoptee's telephone number.
(7) Any other information required by the Department of
Health, but only to the extent the information is necessary
for the Department of Health to verify the identity of the
applicant, locate the relevant records or provide the
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adoptee's noncertified copy of original birth record to the
adoptee.
(d) (E) Application procedures.--The Department of Health
shall develop policies and procedures necessary to comply with
this section within 180 210 days of the effective date of this
subsection.
(e) (F) Fee.--The Department of Health may charge a fee for
issuing a noncertified copy of original birth record as required
by this section. The fee charged shall not exceed the fee for a
certified copy of an original birth record provided in section
609-A of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as
The Administrative Code of 1929.
(f) (G) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be
construed to permit disclosure of an adoptee's birth record to
the birth parents of an adoptee.
(b) Birth parent redaction.--
(1) No later than at the time of adoption, the
Department of Health shall develop and make available to each
birth parent a form that specifies a birth parent's desire to
have the birth parent's name redacted from the noncertified
copy of the original birth record of an adoptee when the
adoptee or, in the case of a deceased adoptee, a descendant
of the adoptee requests the original birth record's release.
The form shall be notarized with accompanying attestation of
parenthood and may be amended at any time. Absent a valid
redaction form under this paragraph, a birth parent's name
shall be available on a birth record.
(2) The following shall apply:
(i) A valid redaction form under paragraph (1) may
include a contact preference form, which the Department
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of Health shall develop and make available to each birth
parent named on the original birth certificate no later
than the time of adoption. The contact preference form,
which can be amended by either birth parent any time,
shall provide a birth parent with options, in
substantially the following form, from which the birth
parent shall select one:
(A) I would like to be contacted. I have
completed the contact preference form and the medical
history form and have filed them with the Department
of Health.
(B) I would prefer to be contacted only through
an intermediary. I have completed the contact
preference form and the medical history form and have
filed them with the Department of Health.
(C) I do not wish to be contacted. I have
completed the contact preference form and the medical
history form and have filed them with the Department
of Health.
(D) I do not wish to be contacted except in
cases where such contact is for the purpose of
addressing a life-threatening medical condition.
(ii) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to
limit additional contact information from the birth
parents.
(3) A valid redaction form under paragraph (1) shall
include a medical history form, which the Department of
Health shall provide to each birth parent no later than at
the time of adoption. No identifying information shall be
mandated to be listed, and either birth parent may send
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subsequent medical history forms as warranted.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an adoptee, a
descendant of an adoptee or the adopting parents may request
a copy of the medical history at any time.
(c) Administration.--
(1) T he Commonwealth shall make a reasonable and
appropriate effort to engage and inform the public about the
availability of the birth parent redaction form and its
accompanying process. The Department of Health shall make
available the forms under subsection (b) to the appropriate
State agencies and publicly accessible Internet websites no
later than 30 days after the effective date of this
paragraph. This paragraph shall expire 210 days after the
effective date of this subsection.
(2) Upon receiving a request for a noncertified copy of
an original birth record from an adoptee or, if the adoptee
is deceased, a descendant of the adoptee, in the absence of a
valid redaction form under subsection (b)(1), the Department
of Health shall make a reasonable effort to contact the
listed birth parents in a manner respecting their privacy in
order to inform them of the redaction form process. If no
valid redaction form is received by the Department of Health
within 90 days of initiating search, a noncertified copy of
original birth record shall be released.
(d) Contact of birth parents.--An adoptee who receives a
noncertified copy of original birth record with redacted
information may request that the Department of Health contact a
birth parent every five years to determine whether or not the
birth parent will:
(1) permit the birth parent's name to be included on the
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noncertified copy of original birth record; or
(2) provide an updated medical history form.
(e) Noncertified copy of an original birth record.--If
provided with a copy of a birth parent death certificate, the
Department of Health shall provide the adoptee, or if adoptee is
deceased, a descendant of the adoptee, an unredacted
noncertified copy of original birth record upon request.
(f) Application.--An application under this section shall be
in a form acceptable to the Department of Health and shall
include the following information:
(1) The adoptee's current name and name assumed at the
time of adoption.
(2) The adoptee's address.
(3) The adoptee's age and date of birth.
(4) The adoptee's gender at birth.
(5) Proof of identification.
(6) The adoptee's telephone number.
(7) Any other information required by the Department of
Health, but only to the extent the information is necessary
for the Department of Health to verify the identity of the
applicant, locate relevant records or provide the adoptee's
noncertified copy of original birth record to the adoptee.
(g) Application procedures.--No later than 210 days from the
effective date of this subsection, the Department of Health
shall develop policies and procedures necessary to implement
this section within 210 days of the effective date of this
subsection.
(h) Fee.--The Department of Health may charge a fee for
issuing a noncertified copy of the original birth record. The
fee charged shall not exceed the fee for a certified copy of an
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original birth record provided in section 609-A of the act of
April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative
Code of 1929.
(i) Construction.--Nothing in the section shall be construed
to permit disclosure of an adoptee's birth record to the birth
parents of the adoptee.
Section 3. This act shall take effect as follows:
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (2), the amendment
of 23 Pa.C.S. § 2937 shall take effect in one year.
(2) The addition of 23 Pa.C.S. § 2937(d) § 2937(E) §
2937(c)(1) and (g) shall take effect immediately.
(3) The remainder of this act shall take effect
immediately.
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